On this day in rock history, there was an awful lot of excellent new music to dive into, plus some pretty historical happenings.

Here's a rundown of rock history's biggest June 22 anniversaries:

June 22, 1971: Joni Mitchell Releases 'Blue'

Joni Mitchell released her hauntingly beautiful Blue in 1971, an album stuffed with rumination on lost love that would inspire dozens of future female singer-songwriters. It is still cited as one of the best and most influential releases ever.

 

June 22, 1973: David Bowie Releases 'Life on Mars?'

David Bowie's "Life on Mars?" first appeared on his 1971 album Hunky Dory, but it was not until June 22, 1973 that he released it as a single. A music video was made for it, shot by Mick Rock featuring Bowie in a pale blue suit and bold makeup.

 

June 22, 1979: Queen Releases 'Live Killers'

In 1979, Queen released a double live album called Live Killers, which was self-produced and also the first to be mixed at their own studios, Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland. It reached No. 3 in the U.K and No. 16 in the U.S.

 

June 22, 1979: Neil Young Releases 'Rust Never Sleeps'

On the same exact day Queen released Live Killers, Neil Young also released new music in the form of the mostly-live Rust Never Sleeps, an album that would later be cited as an inspiration for many '90s grunge bands. (Kurt Cobain even quoted the lyric "it's better to burn out than fade away" in his suicide note.)

 

June 22, 1981: Mark David Chapman Pleads Guilty to Killing John Lennon

In 1981, Mark David Chapman pled guilty to the murder of John Lennon, shortly after receiving a sentence of 20 years to life. He became eligible for parole in 2000, but at the time of this writing, he has been denied parole at least 12 times.

 

June 22, 1984: Aerosmith Begins Back in the Saddle Tour

The early '80s were not the best of times for Aerosmith, to put it mildly. But by 1983, they'd begun to drift back together and embarked on a comeback trek of sorts called the Back in the Saddle Tour, which began June 22, 1984 in Columbus, Ohio.

 

June 22, 1990: Billy Joel Becomes First Rock Act to Play Yankee Stadium

On June 22, 1990, Billy Joel performed the first of two sold-out concerts at New York City's Yankee Stadium in 1990, marking the first time a rock act had ever played there. (The show was also filmed and broadcast.)

June 22, 1992: Black Sabbath Releases 'Dehumanizer'

Black Sabbath's Dehumanizer was notable for a couple reasons. Firstly, it was the first album with Ronnie James Dio as lead singer in over a decade. It was also the first to feature drummer Vinny Appice and bassist Geezer Butler in several years as well.

 

June 22, 1998: Metallica Releases 'Fuel'

Metallica released "Fuel," the third single from their album Reload on June 22, 1998. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1999, but it ultimately lost out to Jimmy Page and Robert Plant's "Most High."

 

June 22, 2004: Brian Wilson Releases 'Gettin' in Over My Head'

Brian Wilson has a knack for revisiting material and hitting the drawing board with fresh ears. His 2004 album Gettin' in Over My Head featured numerous songs that had been scrapped in the '90s, and featured guests such as Paul McCartneyElton JohnEric Clapton and Carl Wilson.

 

June 22, 2010: Ozzy Osbourne Releases 'Scream'

Ozzy Osbourne chose to make his 11th album, Scream, in his home studio, dubbed "The Bunker." It is Osbourne's one and only album to feature guitarist Gus G, instead of the usual Zakk Wylde. Scream went to No. 4 in the U.S. and 12 in the U.K.

 

June 22, 2016: Robert Plant Testifies in Court in 'Stairway to Heaven' Trial

Robert Plant appeared in a Los Angeles court on June 22, 2016, testifying in the trial regarding whether or not Led Zeppelin had plagiarized Spirit's 1968 song "Taurus" when they made "Stairway to Heaven." "I didn't remember it then, and I don't remember it now,” Plant said (via Rolling Stone). Led Zeppelin was ultimately found not guilty.

Born on This Day:
1936: Kris Kristofferson
1937: Chris Blackwell (Island Records)
1939: Bobby Harrison (Procol Harum)
1944: Peter Asher (Peter & Gordon)
1947: Howard Kaylan (The Turtles)
1948: Todd Rundgren
1953: Cyndi Lauper
1957: Gary Beers (INXS)

Which Rock Band Released the Best Two LPs in a Single Year?

In a very different era, rock acts would routinely release a pair of albums in a single year. Here's a look back at the best. 

Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

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